Students weigh in on Russia’s controversial gay ruling


With the 2014 Winter Olympics only a week away, Sheridan students are feeling excited. But they’re also angry at Russian president Vladimir Putin over comments he made about homosexual athletes.

Putin said in a TV interview in Russia that homosexual athletes would be allowed to enter Sochi, Russia to compete, and would not be harassed as long as they don’t interact with children.

Shobha Ramsingh, 34 and openly gay, is a second-year student in the Social Service Worker program. She was the co-leader of the LGBTQ Student Club at Davis Campus from 2012–2013.

“It was really, really shocking and disappointing to hear about Putin’s stance, but it’s encouraging to see the amount of international support in response to the homophobia,” said Ramsingh in a phone interview.

“I was looking at the German team’s uniform, and they’re rainbow-coloured, that’s so encouraging to see.”

At Sheridan, students that aren’t part of the LGBT community have also expressed their anger and disappointment with Putin’s comments.

“People should be allowed to do what they want to do without having to deal with this kind of problem,” said Tammy McNabb, a second-year student in the Early Childhood Education program, in a phone interview. “The Olympics and competing in sports has nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation.”

Many students around the school have the same views.

“It’s discrimination, I mean, I don’t watch the Olympics anyways, but still, definitely doesn’t look good on Russia,” said Sara Joffe, a 19-year-old first-year student in the Child and Youth Worker program.

Upset as people may be, a majority understand that it is “Russia’s fault, not the Olympics themselves, the country is the one with the issues,” said Zack Murray, 19, a second-year student in the Photography program.

For this reason, students are still choosing to support and watch the games this year.

“Of course I’ll be watching, I love the Olympics,” said 22-year-old Charlotte Edwards, a first-year student in the Child and Youth Worker program.

“But I know it’ll be nagging at the back of my head while I watch, because I know what’s actually going on with the discrimination of the athletes.”

The games begin on Feb. 7.